Lost Illusions: “It’s a totally modern movie”

Thirst for glory, greed, absolute power of money, proliferation of fake news… Reading the novel lost illusionsThe actress Cécile de France was, like many, surprised to discover that Honoré de Balzac’s classic had not aged one iota since its publication two centuries ago, and to discover how strongly the film she made by French filmmaker Xavier resonates in our world. Giannoli.

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“Balzac portrayed his society with a somewhat cynical and critical look at his time, which coincided with the birth of capitalism, with all the damage it could cause,” recalled the 46-year-old actress in an interview, who in the film embodies the patron and lover of an idealistic young poet (Benjamin Voisin) trying to make his way in the 19th-century Parisian literary milieuY century.

“In his film, Xavier [Giannoli] he only said what was in Balzac’s book. But since we live in an ultraliberal society, we easily see the resonances with our time. That’s what makes it a totally modern movie and there’s nothing dusty about it. »

Although the social criticism found in the film was already very present in Balzac’s work, Xavier Giannoli did not hesitate to appropriate the novel.

“Xavier took some liberties, especially for my character, observes Cécile de France. In her novel, Balzac calls her dry and describes her as an ugly, cruel and contemptuous woman. However, in her adaptation, Xavier brought much more feelings to her and focused more on her suffering, her loneliness and her social isolation. In Balzac, it is she who puts in the head of her young lover this thirst for glory that will make her lose everything. While in the movie, we feel a pure, carnal and sincere love between them. »


lost illusions is the third film that Cécile de France has made under the direction of filmmaker Xavier Giannoli, after when i was a singer (in 2006) and Superstar (2012).

This time, the filmmaker had a large budget (approximately $25 million) to recreate the Paris of 19Y century. In the interest of realism, he insisted on filming as much as possible on real sets.

Cécile de France admits to being impressed when she first landed on the set oflost illusionsin the fall of 2019.

“It was absolutely wonderful,” she says. We must not forget that we actors are still a bit of a child and that if acting has become our job it is also because we like to dress up. And there, we were propelled into real castles, real sets. Nothing was rebuilt for the film. It was all true. It was Xavier’s will and I think he was right. We are really sucked into the movie like a whirlwind. And the fact that it is the costumes, the extras, all the energy that has been put into bringing it closer to historical reality, transports us and takes us on a journey. This is also the goal of cinema. »

lost illusionsalso starring Xavier Dolan and Gérard Depardieu, premiered on Friday.

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